What to Do When Your Child Is Cyberbullying Victim

cyberbullyIf your child has being harassed by a cyberbully, would you know what to do? Responding to cyberbullying can be more complicated than you think, and the right way to react depends on exactly what's going on.

Finding that someone is bullying your child makes you want to act immediately, but keep your cool and ask questions first. Most victims of cyberbullying don't tell their parents because they think doing so will only make it worse. So before you start making phone calls to the bully's parents, the principal, or the police, find out:

  • What exactly is happening?

  • How long has the cyberbullying been going on?

  • Does your child know who's behind it? Is it one bully or many?

  • Is your child being bullied in person, too?

  • Has your child responded to any of the bullying in any way?

  • Does your child have any idea why the bully might be targeting them?

  • How does the bullying make your child feel?

Once you've got a good idea of what's going on, you can make a more informed decision about how to proceed. Your goal is to end the bullying: based on what you've learned so far, what is the most effective way to do that? 

Before jumping in, explore how your child has tried to handle the cyberbullying themselves. In some circumstances, the best thing to do is simply help them think of ideas to end the bullying on their own. 

In other circumstances, it may be best for you to intervene. You can:

  1. Contact the bully's parents. This depends on how well you know the parents and whether you think it would make the situation better or worse. If you do contact parents, a non-confrontational letter will give them time to get over their initial shock or defensiveness and think through the situation before responding.

  2. Contact the school. Many schools have a zero-tolerance cyberbullying policy. If it happened during school hours or on school-owned equipment, they must take action. But even if they can't intervene, they should at least be aware of what's going on and keep a close eye on your child and the situation.

  3. Contact law enforcement. If physical threats, child pornography, stalking, or extortion are part of the cyberbullying, it has definitely crossed the line and can be brought to the attention of the police. 

There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer for what to do when your child is being cyberbullied. But by finding out all you can about the bullying, you stand in a better position to do the right thing.

-Article Contributed by Jenny EvansVisit Our Internet Safety Resource Center ➽

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